Attorney for convicted leaker asks for ‘release,’ says his client went to jail while ex-CIA director walked after leaking
|Photo by US Army.|
Defense lawyer rips Petraeus plea deal for ‘double standard’ in leak casesBy Michael Isikoff
The lawyer for a former State Department contractor imprisoned last year for leaking classified information is asking federal prosecutors for the “immediate release” of his client in light of the relatively lenient treatment of former CIA Director David Petraeus for similar conduct.
Abbe Lowell, the lawyer for former contractor Stephen Kim, acknowledged that he’s not expecting a positive response to a recent letter he wrote to Ronald Machen, the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, and three other federal prosecutors who pursued his client.
But Lowell wrote the letter, obtained by Yahoo News, to highlight what he described as a “profound double standard” in the government’s prosecution of leak cases — a subject of mounting debate that could weigh on the Justice Department's decision in at least one ongoing high-profile leak probe.
The issue of the differing treatment of leakers — and especially the relatively light plea deal for Petraeus, who will receive no prison time — is also expected to come up in next month’s sentencing of Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA officer convicted of leaking classified information to New York Times reporter James Risen.
Edward MacMahon, one of Sterling’s lawyers, confirmed to Yahoo News that he too will be citing the Petraeus case when his client — who is potentially facing up to 10 years in prison — is sentenced next month. “I’ll be discussing all the sentencing in leak cases,” MacMahon said.